Ampatuan massacre suspect arrested, another killed in separate police ops

John Unson - Philstar.com
Ampatuan massacre suspect arrested, another killed in separate police ops
File - This undated image shows the mass grave for victims of the gruesome 2009 Ampatuan massacre in Maguindanao.
Rhoderick Beñez

COTABATO CITY, Philippines — The police arrested on Thursday afternoon a suspect in the 2009 “Ampatuan massacre,” after another was killed in a shootout in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao earlier the same day.

Police Col. Egnor Melgarejo, chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, said Friday Harris Ampatuan Macapendeg is now detained in their regional office here.

Macapendeg, who carried a P300,000 bounty on his head, is barangay chairman of Tuayan in Datu Hoffer Ampatuan town in Maguindanao.

Combined agents of CIDG-BAR and personnel of the Cotabato City Police Office cornered him while at the Bangsamoro regional capitol.

He surrendered voluntarily when he was shown a warrant for his arrest from the Regional Trial Court Branch 222 in Quezon City, signed by Judge Jocelyn Solis Reyes.

Macapendeg is among some 200 gunmen implicated in the Nov. 23, 2009 election-related murder of 58 people, among them 38 members of the local media, in Salman area in Ampatuan town in Maguindanao.

Macapendeg was in the Bangsamoro regional capitol for an official engagement when he was arrested by CIDG-BAR operatives.

More than 50 other suspects in the Ampatuan massacre, the country’s worst election-related killings ever, are still unaccounted for.

Personnel of the police’s elite Special Action Force killed Surin Mentang, also a suspect in the carnage, in a brief shootout Thursday morning in Barangay Satan in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao  

Col. Jibin Bongcayao, director of the Maguindanao provincial police, said combined members of their intelligence unit and the 41st Special Action Company were to peacefully serve Mentang an arrest warrant but neutralized him immediately instead when he pulled out a gun and opened fire.

The operation supposedly meant to arrest Mentang but turned haywire and resulted in his death was assisted by soldiers from the Army’s 40th Infantry Battalion, according to Bongcayao.

Bongcayao said efforts to locate other suspects in the Maguindanao massacre are underway. 



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